#344 – FROM THIS DAY ON I WILL BLESS YOU (6/5/21)
On Sunday we took a break from our Sent series in order to briefly look at the book of Haggai. Today we’ll look at the fourth prophecy that Haggai gives to the people.
Please read Haggai 2:10-2:19
God Convicts the people of their sin
Through Haggai, God convicts the people of their sin. He uses this illustration - maybe a little strange to us - to teach them that holy people do not purify unholy things that they touch. Rather, holy people are defiled by unholy things that touch them. Haggai drives his point home by saying,
“‘So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,’ declares the Lord. ‘Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled” (Haggai 2:14).
Through Haggai, God reminds them that they have been experiencing the consequences of their sin. Because of their sin, their work had not been blessed.
What was their sin?
Clearly, their principal sin is that of leaving the temple in ruins whilst they are distracted with building their own homes. They had already set up the altar and had begun to worship on the temple site. We read in Ezra,
‘Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening sacrifices.’ (Ezra 3:3)
However, God makes it clear that all of their offerings of worship were defiled because their ‘contact’ with this rebellious people.
God had rebuked king Saul in a similar way. He, like them, had thought that acts of sacrificial worship could whitewash his disobedience,
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22)
God wants our obedience. We may sing or do many other good things for God, but are we disobeying Him in ways revealed in His word? Most relevant to us today is this: do we call ourselves Christians whilst rebelling against God as we fail to love and build the local church? There is a great blessing for us, as for them, as we respond to God in obedience,
“‘From this day on I will bless you.’” (Haggai 2:19)
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - IT'S TIME TO BUILD
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Have you got any funny DIY stories to share?
Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group
Please read Haggai 1:1-15
God’s people had been taken into exile in Babylon because they had refused to listen to God about their sin. However, God had promised that after 70 years they would return to the Land. Having returned, they quickly become fearful and discouraged and the rebuilding of the house of God ceases for 15 years. God stirs them to start building through the prophets Haggai and Zechariah.
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’” (Haggai 1:2)
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honoured,” says the Lord .“ (Haggai 1:7-8)
We are not called to build a physical temple of stone and gold. In this era, God’s church - His people - are His temple. God wants all of us to be devoted to building His community.
1. Did God speak to you about anything in particular from Sunday's message or the blogs this week?
2. In Haggai 1:2 we read, "This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house." They had become discouraged from building. As a result, God's people had diverted their energy from building God's house. We read in Haggai 1:3, “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your panelled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” What are the ways that one might become discouraged and distracted from building the local church?
3. God commanded them to “Give careful thought to your ways" (Haggai 1:7). Each of us is to prayerfully seek God for how we are to be involved in building the church. Giving careful thought to our ways means prayerfully aligning our hearts with God’s word. What does scripture teach about the church and our involvement?
4. In Haggai 1:8, we read "Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house.." How would you apply this to the church context?
Serving, Investing and inviting
Building the local church involves bringing new people to salvation.
1) Have you got any encouraging stories of serving, investing and inviting?
2) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?
2) How are you planning to serve invest and invite?
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